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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel (Paperback)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold’s cross-country journey.
“This lovely book is full of joy. Much more than the story of a woman’s enduring love for an ordinary, flawed man, it’s an ode to messy, imperfect, glorious, unsung humanity.”—The Washington Post
A runaway international bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed its unassuming hero on an incredible journey as he traveled the length of England on foot—a journey spurred by a simple letter from his old friend Queenie Hennessy, writing from a hospice to say goodbye. Harold believed that as long as he kept walking, Queenie would live. What he didn’t know was that his decision to walk had caused her both alarm and fear. How could she wait? What would she say? Forced to confront the past, Queenie realizes she must write again.
In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s; one word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths—about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years.
A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life.
About the Author
Rachel Joyce is the author of Miss Benson’s Beetle, The Music Shop, the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, as well as the digital short story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and a story collection, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Booker Prize. Joyce was named the Specsavers National Book Awards “New Writer of the Year” in December 2012 and shortlisted for the “UK Author of the Year” 2014. Joyce has also written more than thirty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Brontë novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre, and Cheek by Jowl. She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.
“[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”—People
“Delightful.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”—The Guardian
“Joyce has a wonderfully evocative turn of phrase and like her other books this is a delightful read. . . . Queenie is an uplifting and moving companion to Harold.”—Daily Express
“Joyce nicely calls the book a companion rather than a sequel. But The Love Song is bolder than a retread of the same material from another angle. . . . After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”—The Telegraph
“[Joyce] manages to both add depth to an already strong work and build something new and beautiful upon it.”—The A.V. Club
“A wonderful read . . . It is not necessary to read Harold’s story before reading Queenie’s to enjoy this bittersweet novel, which is a pleasure in its own right. However, reading both will only serve to double that pleasure.”—The Independent
“[A] beguiling follow-up . . . In telling Queenie’s side of the story, Joyce accomplishes the rare feat of endowing her continuing narrative with as much pathos and warmth, wisdom and poignancy as her debut. Harold was beloved by millions; Queenie will be, too.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Destined to change your world. One can’t help but see life, and the end of it, differently after experiencing this novel. Full of wisdom and heart, it will overwhelm its readers with a deep sensitivity.”—Bookreporter